Courtesy of Strategic Communications

Cal Poly Rose Float team branches out into a new direction for 2023’s design

By Renee Walker, Oct. 4, 2022

The Cal Poly Rose Float team unveiled its final design for the 2023 Rose Float Parade in early September titled “Road to Reclamation,” the float will tackle the tournament’s overarching theme: “Turning a corner.”

According to the Cal Poly Rose Float team, this year’s float will feature a fallen branch on the forest floor. As a result, the branch now fosters new life, hosting a community of diverse organisms and plant life. The objective of the float’s design is to celebrate endings and foster new beginnings.

Ryan Ward, Cal Poly Rose Float president, believed that this year’s float and theme resonated with him more than others.

“Personally, for turning a corner, I graduate in December — this semester. I feel like turning a corner is always relevant to graduating. You are starting something new, a new chapter.”

To accommodate the parade’s date of Jan. 2, 2023, the Cal Poly Rose Float team began its design process in the spring once the theme was announced. After the theme was released, Cal Poly Rose Float held a design contest and picked the winning submission. This year’s submission takes on a more realistic approach to 2022’s float titled “Stargazers,” which featured a cow strapped to a jetpack flying over the moon.

“Last year was a lot more whimsical,” said Cindy Lu, mechanical engineering student and assistant construction chair. “This year (2023) we wanted to go for realism.”

One of the more important mechanics of the float animations is being built at the San Luis Obispo campus. The animation consists of a few snails chasing after one another as the float progresses forward.

Courtesy of Strategic Communications

Although the two universities work on certain mechanics and element designs separately during the beginning of the process, SLO is slated to arrive at CPP as early as mid-October to start construction and assembly. After construction, the program then moves over to Pasadena, California, where the Cal Poly Rose Float team will be met with hundreds of volunteers ready to add flowers to the float’s skeleton.

“Working with SLO is my favorite part,” said Lu. “We’ll be working with them hand-in-hand. I’m a construction assistant, so my mechanics will pair with an element design from SLO. The element is the shell of the creature that we are creating. When we come together, we’re trying to figure out how we can make things move and how we can cover all of the mechanics.”

Lu also mentioned that beyond working with SLO, the best part of the program is meeting new people.

Due to COVID-19, the 2022 rose float program suffered a decline in volunteers to aid in the completion of the float. Yet, the return of in-person classes on campus has sparked a new interest in the program.

“We have so many people this year and it is incredible, ,” said Katherine Garcia, Cal Poly Rose Float vice president. “The shop is full, and sometimes that can be a problem, but it’s a good problem. You don’t need to have any experience as long as you’re dedicated, and these people are dedicated.”

Within the last two weeks of recruiting and planning, Ward said that the program has been able to reach new heights. During a recent lunch and learn session, the rose float program was able to reel in 200 attendees.

“There is a drive within these new people to get stuff done,” said Ward. “I separate the program into two sections: pre-COVID and post-COVID. Now that we are back on campus and have a new shop to work out of, a lot of students are becoming more creative in how we address and solve problems and that shows with this new design.”

Feature image courtesy of Strategic Communications


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